Photo/Story Gallery 2009

Former Trooper is Published Author

Book CoverBook CoverRichard “Spanky” Chapman had a dream to be a police officer & change lives. He succeeded in that. However, his dream required great personal sacrifice. He lost his partner, and nearly his own life. Now in retirement, he reflects on the many adventures he had in law enforcement, good and bad. Chapman retired in 2002 from the Florida Highway Patrol, but still feels a passion for what he loved to do and a deep loss for the things he was unable to accomplish. He currently lives in Savannah, Georgia with his wife, daughter, and son-in-law.

In the 1980’s the State of Florida faced a huge drug trafficking problem. One solution was the formation of the Florida Highway Patrol’s K-9 Program. Trooper Chapman was fortunate enough to participate in the pilot program. FHP began with four K-9 teams. In Chapman’s book, he tells the story of his career as a handler and his K-9 partner Abbey. Together, they made an unstoppable team, receiving two State Cabinet Resolutions from two governors as well as numerous other awards, including a Purple Heart awarded by the Florida Highway Patrol.

Trooper Chapman and K9 AbbeyThey were unstoppable, that is, until they were poisoned by some drug runners on the Florida Turnpike. On November 18, 1988, while conducting a vehicle search for narcotics, Trooper Chapman commanded K-9 Abbey to conduct a sniff to detect any drugs. The dog was quickly overcome by an unknown substance and fell to the ground. Trooper Chapman also became lightheaded after being exposed to the substance, but the feeling soon passed. However, three years later, Trooper Chapman was diagnosed with sclerosis of the liver. And four years later, K-9 Abbey died from a rare form of cancer. Ultimately, Trooper Chapman was forced to undergo both a liver and a kidney transplant.

Even though Trooper Chapman suffered years of sickness and organ transplants, he was still proud to say he was a Florida State Trooper. His story touches on the sacrifices made by law enforcement fighting our state’s war on drugs, and his own personal fight for his life, highlighting the experiences a person goes through with a transplant and how it affects those close to you. Trooper Chapman hopes that through this book someone can benefit even in the smallest way from all of his experiences. To read a sample chapter, follow this link: